Who’s Playing In The World Series 2021?

The baseball season is a long one — 162 games, and then there are the playoffs for those teams that reach them. It’s a test of both talent and mental fortitude. Not only do players have to grind from April through September, they then have to turn it on during the postseason. October is when it can all turn into anyone’s best guess. An unheralded regular-season player might have some clutch hits or even make an outstanding defensive play or two. The teams that the so-called experts deemed as the ones to beat at the beginning of the year might not be the last ones standing. 

But here we are. After the regular season, a play-in series, and both the Division and Championship Series, there are two teams left to play for the title of 2021 World Champion. The World Series 2021 is about to get underway and here is all you need to know about the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. 

Freddie Freeman and the Braves never gave up

For much of the 2021 season, it looked like the New York Mets were going to win the National League East. Then they lost both their best starting pitcher in Jacob deGrom and one of their best players in Francisco Lindor for extended periods of time, per MLB, and that left the door open for the Atlanta Braves. It’s not like they didn’t battle adversity of their own; Ronald Acuña Jr., whom many see as the best hitter in the majors, went down on July 10 with a complete tear in his right anterior cruciate ligament, knocking him out for the rest of the season, per CBS Sports.

But the Braves kept on playing hard, and they made deals for both Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler, both of whom have proved to be invaluable. They also added Eddie Rosario and Joc Pederson, who kept them chugging along, too, according to MLB. Rosario hit .474 throughout the playoffs, via MLB

The big story, though, is that genial giant Freddie Freeman, who has been on the team for 12 years, made it to the World Series for the first time in his career. He overcame a rough start to the National League Championship series, once striking out seven times in a row to hit two important homers later on reported the Ocean County Register. Atlanta fans are certainly glad he’s in the spotlight now.

Jose Altuve continues to be the beating heart of the Astros

The Houston Astros are no strangers to the World Series. They played in both 2017 and 2019. They won in ’17, but there was controversy over how they did it, due to their cheating with closed-circuit television and a trash can, per The New York Times. In short, when they played at home they would see what signs the catcher was giving and then bang a trash can if a certain pitch was called. The hitter, knowing what was coming had a better chance of hitting it. Yes, it still involved being able to do this with balls coming in at over 90 mph but it was an advantage, nonetheless. When the scheme was revealed after the 2019 season, many people didn’t like the relative lack of teeth in the punishment. So the Astros have been under a cloud of suspicion since then. 

Enter Dusty Baker. The veteran manager held the team together and they went on to win the American League West by five games. Second baseman José Altuve hit 31 homers during the regular season, the ageless Zack Greinke won 11 games, and Lance McCullers Jr. won 13, via Baseball Reference. They beat the Chicago White Sox and then the Boston Red Sox to reach the World Series, per CBS Sports

Who will win? Count on experience

So … the question is: who will win? 

The Braves have a three-headed pitching monster in Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Drew Smyly, all of whom won at least 10 games. Will Smith (no, not THAT guy) had 37 regular-season saves. There are plenty of dangerous hitters in the lineup, including Freddie Freeman, Joc Pederson, Ozzie Albies, and Eddie Rosario. It would be foolish to count them out … as the Mets learned. 

On the other hand, most of the Astros have been to the World Series before. They know what it is like to have the spotlight shining on them. They have heard the boos before. Dusty Baker is an experienced manager who has led several other squads this far. Brian Snitker, who manages the Braves, is a relative neophyte in comparison. Also, this may be the last hurrah for this Houston team; superstar Carlos Correa will likely seek greener pastures after the season, and they will probably want to send him off with a World Series ring. 

Baseball is winding down in 2021. Enjoy the series … and then start thinking about Spring Training 2022. 

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